I will be following the development of this port with interest, as I suspect that getting it into operation will not be all plain sailing. My biggest worries concern the road and rail links to get freight containers to and from the port. After all the freight train route through London on the North London and Gospel Oak to Barking lines are not the easiest places to move heavy freight trains, especially as the local residents don’t like Class 66 locomotives at all hours of the night.
As the train to Woodbridge passed onto the East Suffolk Line, north of Ipswich station, it would appear that at last work is starting on creating the Bacon Factory or Ipswich North Curve to allow trains, and especially heavy freight ones, to pass to and from Felixstowe without reversing in Ipswich station.
i always trawl the BBC’s web site in the morning to look for thought provoking articles. This one about the latest generation of container ships is fascinating. Describing the capacity of the ship it uses this paragraph.
Each will contain as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and have a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU).
If those containers were placed in Times Square in New York, they would rise above billboards, streetlights and some buildings.
Or, to put it another way, they would fill more than 30 trains, each a mile long and stacked two containers high. Inside those containers, you could fit 36,000 cars or 863 million tins of baked beans.
It also talks about the knock-on effects of such large ships for ports.
Ship owners also want vessels to be unloaded and loaded within 24 hours, which has various knock-on effects. More space is needed to store the containers in the harbour, and onward connections by road, rail and ship need to be strengthened to cope with the huge surge in traffic.
Felixstowe, which handles 42% of the UK’s container trade, has 58 train movements a day, but plans to double that after it opens a third rail terminal later this year.
Have we got the capacity on the railways to move that large number of boxes?
The next big complaint from the public, will be the noise of freight trains rumbling through their neighbourhood at all hours of the day. The standard freight engines, the Class 66, are not the quietest of beasts.
So for a start, all of the freight routes, like Felixstowe to Nuneaton and Gospel Oak to Barking must be electrified.
But that will only be a stop-gap and we need to put in new lines to the north of the United Kingdom. At least HS2, if it is to be built will be a start.
In Modern Railways this month, there is an informative article about how they are starting to build railways from scratch in that trouble country.
Apparently, they never developed a railway system, like neighbouring countries, and only now, with the need to remove vast amounts of natural resources around and out of the country, that the railways are being proposed.
It is a daunting task, made worse by the mountainous terrain and the fact that surrounding countries have a variety of different gauges.
Let’s hope the engineers succeed in their aims, as it might bring some wealth, prosperity and freedom to the country. There is a Wikipedia article, which gives more details.
There is the mother of all battles starting in Radlett about a proposed road and rail freight depot.
Underlying all of this is the need for suitable sites for this close to the M25 to satisfy London’s freight transport needs. and of course there are few sites available.
But then London has a serious freight problem and short of forcibly moving half the population out, you will not cut the amount of freight going into the City.
So there will be pain somewhere!
There is going to be masses of opposition.
In fact, I think that the amount of opposition is such, that the line will not get built. certainly, as I look forward at 65, I doubt I’ll ever see it.
Let’s face it, if you had a referendum, which asked if we wanted a high speed rail or more motorways, the man stuck in the jam on the M1 would vote for the roads.
HS2 also doesn’t help our biggest transport problem of the next twenty years. Or at least not directly! How do we get all the freight containers, to and from the major ports like Southampton, Felixstowe and Thames Haven? It deals with them indirectly, by making more paths available on the classic lines to the North and Scotland, especially if a few strategic freight by-passes are built and lines like Ipswich to Nuneaton are electrified.
There also seems to be a lots of opponents saying that London and the South East will be the biggest beneficiary. So perhaps we should built it from Birmingham to Scotland? Or at least that should be the first phase to open!
There is the classic opportunity here for a political party to fight an election on an anti-HS2 platform. I don’t think, any of the three major parties would do this, but who’s to say, some smaller party wouldn’t? After all, UKIP has said no to the project in this article on its web site.
I was waiting for a bus, when I heard a voice repeating.
This lorry is turning left.
It turned out it was a recorded message on this cement lorry.
I think it could be a good idea. Except for deaf cyclists.
Ipswich is now believed to have the first Development Consent Order to come into force. This will allow the construction of the Ipswich Chord to take freight trains directly from the Felixstowe Branch towards Peterborough.
It doesn’t seem that the good burghers of Ipswich are bothered and that no badger-toed newts have been found on the site. But then they know a good thing when they see it. I suppose the only objectors could be truck drivers, as the scheme will cut a lot of road journeys.
These pictures show the rail bridge at Primrose Hill.
It is now pedestrianised, but it wasn’t in 1970, when I used to walk across it twice to get to and from work.
It has been proposed to re-open Primrose Hill station by bringing the short stretch of line between South Hampstead and Camden Road stations back into the regular passenger service by incorporating it into the London Overground network.
From this passenger’s point-of-view, it would be a good thing, but it is only part of a bigger plan, that might be needed to get the freight through London.
I have hinted in my ramblings around the North London and Gospel Oak to Barking lines, that London has a rail freight problem, which mainly concerns getting large numbers of long heavy freight trains, to and from London Gateway and the Haven Ports in the east and the West Coast and Great Western Main lines in the north and west.
Without repeating what London Reconnections have done, I would suggest, that before you pontificate down the pub, you read their three part analysis.
Part 1: Reshaping the Network
Part 2:The Freight Must Flow
Part 3: A Quart Into A Pint Pot
The title of part 3 sums up the problem so well.
At the present, all I can see that more and more freight traffic is going to pass through London.
For my own part, I would never buy any house, that was anywhere need the North London or Gospel Oak to Barking lines, as the noise problem is going to get horrific.
The following should also be done as soon as possible.
There should be electrification of the Felixstowe to Nuneaton rail line , so that freight trains from the Haven Ports to the Midlands and the North don’t have to go via London. This would have the benefit of opening up paths on the Great Eastern Main line and also making services from East Anglia to the Midlands electric-hauled.
The Gospel Oak to Barking line should be electrified. There are always good environmental reasons for electrification, but here the main reason is that replacing noisy diesel engines with quieter electric ones will reduce the noise substantially.
But these will only be stop gap measures and surely in around 2020, the problem of getting the freight through is going to get worse.
Something radical will need to be done.